Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Boojamus in excelsis!

Snark hunting is passé this festive week, this being a time of general goodwill and peace on earth, etc. Hunting anything with forks and hope is right out, which should be a comfort to all Snarks wishing to take a few days off with their families.

And I'm certain that all such nonsensical beasts would express along with me (if anyone ever bothered to ask them), the most heartfelt best wishes to everyone who has so kindly written to me or taken the trouble to encourage others to view my humble efforts, in particular: La source aux bois, Stochastic Bookmark, Michael Sporn Animation, Scott Sharplin's Infinite Number of Monkeys and especially the truly erudite Snarkologist, Doug Howick. All of the above are the most sporting-type fellow snarquistes you could wish for.

As a small holiday token of my gratitude (and another manifestation of my relentlessly misplaced and futile commercial instincts), I offer my readers the screensaver seen above (1280x1024). It is eminently suitable for the desktops of all cubicle-trapped office drones who entertain idle fantasies of a tropical cruise in this, my private world … the best of all possible worlds …

For those who revel in such minutiae, a 1024x768 version is available here and a 1280x854 beastie is lurking here.

Enough of talk, so, if you don't object, my dear, we'll try a glass of bitter beer. I think it looks inviting.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fit Two, Page 11, Panel 3 … Spatial Education

But the principal failing occurred in the sailing,
And the Bellman, perplexed and distressed,

Said he had hoped, at least, when the wind blew due East,

That the ship would not travel due West!

And so, even the least of the Bellman's hopes shall be occidentally disoriented. What wind blew you hither, noble Bellman? Not the ill wind which blows no man to good. Nor that wind which is winding the watch of your wit; so that by and by it will strike.

I think this wind is what the learned scholastic Flann O'Brien would call the ultimate and inexorable and supreme pancake at the back of the whole shooting match, ie., omnium. And what is this omnium of this wind that we hear so much of on the tellyvision? It is the essential, inherent, interior essence which is hidden inside the root of the kernel of everything and it is always the same. The bane of Booja* and Bellmen alike, the curse of the drinking classes, this here omnium-wind is the wind of an indefinite divisibility.


* The nominative plural of boojum is booja, this particular species of the genus Snark being neuter in nature — Snarkus boojum. The verb itself is regular, of course: booja, boojas, boojat, boojamus, boojatis, boojant; although the correct orthography should really be BOOIVM, BOOIA, etc.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fit Two, Page 11, Panel 2 … Heute sind wir im Ernst!

He was thoughtful and grave — but the orders he gave
Were enough to bewilder a crew.
When he cried "Steer to starboard, but keep her head larboard!"
What on earth was the helmsman to do?
Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes:
A thing, as the Bellman remarked,
That frequently happens in tropical climes,
When a vessel is, so to speak, "snarked."

As the nurturing, endlessly comforting snows of Québec begin to numb our cerebelli at chez snarque, we have ample time to reflect upon the old adage: good artists borrow; great artists steal (and never from the merely good artists). I've mercilessly looted the Belgians, French and Italians, so the inspiration for this stanza will have to be purloined from the Germans.

Easier said than done, I soon discovered. Friedrich Nietzsche (The Bonnets) and Martin Heidegger (The Barrister) refused to countenance my scheme but Karl Marx (The Banker), that preternaturally prescient Protosurrealist, quickly came up with some snappy double-talk to justify my larcenous designs. He pointed out that crime is actually good for the likes of Lewis Carroll and his ilk (double-plus-good, in fact):

"The criminal produces not only crime but also the criminal law; he produces the professor who lectures on this law and even the inevitable textbook … the whole apparatus of the police and criminal justice … also art, literature, novels, even tragic dramas … he (the criminal) gives a new impulse to the productive forces."

That's pretty juicy stuff, say no more, Karl! Within minutes, my crack team of ninja-idiot-savant-cat-burglar-draftsmen had illicitly purloined and haphazardly reproduced this picture of a giant thumb lusting after his maternal walnut from none other than Max Ernst, the noted German surrealist and an echt bon vivant with the consummate Carrollian taste to die the day before he was born.

Of course, you, the dear reader, may ask: what's this picture got to do with a vessel being snarked in tropical climes? I can only reply: It's a fair cop, guv'nor!


NB. Max Ernst's illustrations for the Snark are dadamax-loplop-good! One may wonder what Lewis Carroll would have made of them, but by using our Protosurrealist critical apparatus we can safely say: yes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Fit Two, Page 11, Panel 1 … Tingle-Bell Rock

This was charming, no doubt; but they shortly found out
That the Captain they trusted so well

Had only one notion for crossing the ocean,

And that was to tingle his bell.

Apropos of nothing in particular … Eugène Delacroix pooh-poohed maritime disasters and English literature, both of them subjects dear to my heart …

"… I have been reading the story of a shipwreck by Edgar Allan Poe, where the survivors remain in the most horrible and desperate situation for fifty pages on end — nothing could be more boring. Here we have an example of foreign bad taste. The English, German and other non-Latin peoples have no literature because they have no taste or proportion … they drown one beneath a flood of detail that takes away all the interest."

Later that same evening, over a beaker of pure rainwater, he tossed off this observation:

"Lord Byron praised gin as his Hippocrene, because it made him bold … happy are they who, like Voltaire and other great men, can reach a state of inspiration on fresh water and plain living."

So, you want fresh water and plain living with no details? Very well! Get on this sinking raft, Eugène! You did it for Théodore Géricault, you can do it for me! Down there in front, behind the Bellman with your arms outstretched and quit your whining, this ain't no alexandrine hémistichery — this here's Lewis Carroll! Tingle that bell!


NB. I have increased the mineral content of Delacroix's head to compensate for his natural Gallic bouyancy and to highlight his affinity for impersonating an Easter Island moia.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fit Two, Page 10, Panel 3

"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?"
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
"They are merely conventional signs!
"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But we've got our brave Captain to thank:
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best —
A perfect and absolute blank!"

Yet another shameless Magritte pastiche, and not the last one to grace these pages, I'll wager. Shameless — the 10th Muse of Protosurrealism!

Even more shameless — this insistence that the crew of the HMS Snark use the French language for navigational purposes when it is clearly evident to anyone who has ever been lost at sea that English is the natural language of confusion. This is easily verified. Stand on a streetcorner in any francophone city and ask a stranger: where am I? If necessary, pull at shirtsleeves and wave your arms, speak very slowly while pronouncing every phoneme at the utmost decibel level.

I shall be observing you from inside the comfortable vantage point of a nearby bottle of plonk. Do not make eye contact with me or else — sapristi! Garçon, call the police, this crazy-man-anglais-cowboy-streetperson is bothering me!

Words, words, words … if only they had the decency to cover themselves up, like the Bellman & Company. They have no loyalty, they can't be bothered to mean anything anymore, they're shameless!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fit Two, Page 10, Panel 2

He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land:

And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be

A map they could all understand.

The original illustration by Holiday of this Universal Map is, to be honest, a bit trite. It's obvious that the poor man was trying to economize on india ink and pen nibs. However, as the 11th Commandment reminds us: thou shalt not speak ill of another artist, particularly when they are dead and defenseless (the precise state in which their work is best appreciated and appreciates best).

I felt that I could do better. I assumed the traditional artist's position of cogitation whilst supine on my charpoy. I puffed upon the hookah proferred me by the Assamese chorus-girl who also pressed my feet, the predominant organ of mentation in my species. I was, of course, familiar with the etymology of the word "map", which ultimately conjured up the hebraic motif of a cloth which conceals and a cloth which reveals, all of which I deftly distilled into "what's-behind-curtain-number-four" and "the-Freudian-Slip".

But still … it was obvious … too obvious, perhaps. All the better for my class of readers! Starting with a gratuitious insult to Henry Holiday I had mentally arrived at a hookah-puffing Jewish savant peddling obscurantism to a witless Bellman in a Cairene souk. In the distance I could hear the blood-curdling screams of native children conjugating French verbs. I paid them no heed! I bent over my drawing board, pen in hand, my thoughts feverishly coagulating in a vivid mental maelstrom of mixed metaphors and incongruous images! Two weeks ago I couldn't even spell "artist", now I are one!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fit Two, Page 10, Panel 1

The Bellman himself they all praised to the skies —
Such a carriage, such ease and such grace!

Such solemnity, too! One could see he was wise,

The moment one looked in his face!

There are some who might say this artist's conception of the Bellman is a base and underhanded attack upon the same, suggesting as it does that the Bellman was literally birdbrained and furthermore, that his colleagues (depicted here and here) possessed the collective wisdom and general prescience of a flock of chickens on the way to the abattoir.

But this is not the case.

I put it to you that the English penchant for all things avian is well-known. I put it to you that Lewis Carroll populated his verse and prose with many avian and semi-avian portmanteaux (or portmantanimaux?) such as the Jubjub Bird and the Borogrove.

I put it to you that the Bellman has suffered the ill-effects of a Violent Unknown Event and that he has metamorphasized into an avian state common amongst avant-garde English cineastes. The wisdom on his face is actually the smug look of a sporting wallah who finally knows for certain which came first, the chicken or the egg.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Fit One and Two, Pages 8 and 9 as a Spread … Dessin Nouveau

The most astute reader will have noted that five weeks have elapsed with nary a quotation nor quip from The Hunting of the Snark. What does all this mean? From whence come these images of the HMS Snark drifting rudderless, porpoiseless, perhaps even cucumberless in the salad season?

This is no sin of omission. This is artistic license run amuck … we are reading between the lines* … we are drawing between the words (to dispense with the words in a graphic novel one must dispense with the novelty of grafting words). We are doing — dessin nouveau! So just chill, baby, and dig this frabjous double-page spread.


NB. Kudos to Mister Nnyhav, who has correctly pointed out the similarities between 'pataphysics and the still-evolving school of Protosurrealism. However, one must always remember that the latter invariably requires the deliberate substitution of one's past for one's future. Ergo, 'pataphysics is a reaction before the action of Protosurrealism.

*Remember, snarkology recapitulates parisology. Parisology is the subaudition of the protosurreal. Protosurrealism is resipiscence before the fact (eg. antediluvian postlapsarianism, subterrannean ultramontanism, etc).

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fit Two, Page 9

The Bellman's speech is of that particular British provenance yclept "fruity". Not so much "plummy" but rather … "peachy". If one removes the fuzzy skin thereof (the burr, so to speak) one is left with a nectarine. This fruit (spelled n-e-c-t-a-r-i-n-e but pronounced "stuffed cabbage") was the preferred nutrition of most cavemen and it was they who first domesticated the dog.

We see here a sample of that species, a young pup named Laelaps, who attends upon his master's fruity voice. And what does he hear? A sonorous mussitation which leaves no impression upon him at all, for, as Thomas Aquinas noted, dogs have no souls. Hence their proverbial high fidelity is but a marketing ploy.

A dog, a peach, a gramophone — after all these years, my own 3-piece jazz combo! At last, I can take a bath. And just in time too, my gin-driven ink-pen's almost run dry.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fit One, Page 8, Panel 3

What is surrealism? The simultaneous memory of everything. What is protosurrealism? The same as above with the added frisson of remembering an impossible future.

What is the final panel of Fit the First? A protosurrealist Narrenschiff patched together from semiotic pentimenti and oneiric palimpsets, a carte-de-visite of the Victorian ideal of the future, an artifact drifting down the estuary of the Mississippi … the Amazon … the Thames … the Congo

"We said there warn't no home like the ol' HMS Snark, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but the Snark don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on her.

"But when we reach the sea we'll build a bigger ship! What great treachery that will be! Then we shall control every bathing machine and produce history as others produce plays. I, the Bellman, the wrath of god!"

The Bellman ceased, and sat apart, indistinct and silent, in the pose of a meditating Buddha. Nobody moved for a time. "We have lost the first of the ebb," said the Butcher, suddenly. I raised my head. The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed somber under an overcast sky — seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.

"The horror! The horror!"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fit One, Page 8, Panel 2 … l'après-midi d'une castor

Declaimed by a drowsy Beaver at the stern of the HMS Snark as it drifts through the somnambulant equatorial swamps … simian caterwaulings and jackanape antics of the crew providing the needful soothing jungle lullabies … a siesta beckons … perhaps a postprandial charpoy, memsahib?

These snores, that I wish to outgribe.
So clear,
Their mimsy incarnations, which fly through the brillig air
I drowse a tulgey sleep.
Did I love a Boojum?

A suivre …

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fit One, Page 8, Panel 1

Words, words, words! There's not going to be any of 'em in this drawing and besides, the Beaver seldom knows what to say anyway. They make such a buzzing in her head … so she's popped off, outside on deck, away from that galoot of a Butcher and his loquacious cronies in the main salon. She's having a breath of fresh sea air, watching the Boots and the Bellman gammon the ship's bowsprit, thinking of absolutely nothing in particular.

She is, as they say, a tabula rasa. Just the thing for an artist who's short on paper. A few quick strokes of the pen and voilà! In place of a quotidian Castor Canadensis, we now have a charming ingenue recently out of finishing school. She has imbibed all the social graces necessary for the sporting companion of any High Church Anglicans bent on Snarkicide. No more riparian galactophagogery for this lady, she's wearing the galligaskins now and she's loaded for Boojum!

In short — nurture triumphs over nature — again! Huzzah for the tabulae rasae of this world! Besides, no one likes a palimpset anyway, those snooty, nefandous know-it-alls.

NB. Special thanks to Doug H., a true Snarkologist, for furnishing me with sample pages from Peter Bowler's The Superior Person's Little Book of Words. Address all excess-word complaints directly to Doug. I am but a humble bystander, so fight your own naumachia, eh?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Fit One, Pages Six and Seven as a Spread (What is Protosurrealism?)

What was Surrealism? An escape into perpetual dreams, perpetual revolution, perpetual reinvention, perpetual renewal through the device of the unconsciousness playing peek-a-boo with the artistic imagination, yes, yes, all the 20th century neuroses say look at me — the Surreal! The end result? The 21st-century post-postmodern artist manqué, addressing his fussy postcards from the hipster Present to the slaughterhouse of the Past. So much diffident worrying over the langorous finessing of … absolutely … nothing.

Protosurrealism says fiddle-dee-dee to all of the above. An artistic movement destined to occupy its proper alphabetized station between Postmodernism and Surrealism, but with far less formalities, Protosurrealism is imbued with the breezy style of the perpetual flaneur who is always "hello-I-must-be-going", an artistic movement which appears before Surrealism but happens after it.

In short, Protosurrealism is the 21st-century application of 19th-century answers to 20th-century problems!

Example: the double-page spread shown above. A classic example of 19th-century realistic pen & ink textual illustration, a style where nothing is left to the imagination because there is no imagination involved. The artist draws what he sees, nothing more, lest he be late for his tiffin.

And what does he see? He sees a 20th-century reader assuming that lexical and symbolic playfulness must really be confusion and alienation masquerading as nonsense — because the 20th-century reader always fears that everything is about himself! And even better, this reader begats a 21st-century reader who knows that everything is about himself.

What else does the Protosurrealist see? He sees a library full of universal histories of dreams to draw upon. The fact that they emanate from his past yet are always unexpected is the essential quality of being proto-anything, much less surrealism. And so, the Protosurrealist mollifies the neurotic tendencies of the 20th-century past with an academic performance of 19th-century draughtsmanship, delineating the cultural artifacts of Surrealism with the same precision as a bowl of flowers in a still-life. He then takes a quick peek at the calendar to ensure that this is the year 2007 and voilà!

Our future buries our past in a perpetual present!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fit the First, Page 7, Panel 2 … Trained Rocks Keep Fallin' On My Head

Yet still, ever after that sorrowful day,
Whenever the Butcher was by,
The Beaver kept looking the opposite way,
And appeared unaccountably shy.

The aversion of the Beaver's eyes is motivated by the primitive belief that whatever cannot be seen by oneself, cannot itself see you.* This charming simplicity of thought is the innocent basis of all epistemologies, and it can be said, with some justice, that all of Western philosophy is but footnotes to the nursery-room game of peek-a-boo.

And so … we are indulging in a pre-Socratic, pre-school tautology of existential hide-and-go-seek … the Beaver dematerializes her stony-faced surrealist nemesis the Butcher by averting her eyes. Lewis Carroll disarms his Boojum by composing the Snark backwards and thus placing the former into a perpetually receding, invisible future of the latter. As for myself, I'm one of those literal-minded draughtsmen who cannot draw what he cannot see. I shall spurn Rule Number One of Illustration (if you cannot draw it, place a bush in front of it) for I am above such petty stratagems — a plague on all manner of foliage, those leaves, so many, so many, is there no end to them? The naked Boojum shall remain a naked, undrawn, unseeing Boojum.

To see a Boojum, ladies and gentlemen, is to be seen by a Boojum! Eschew the lethal gaze of all negating nonentities and all will be well! Focus instead your nondiscerning gaze upon the perfectly rendered nonchalance of this cool drawing. Nothing to see here folks, just move right along.

*Vide the protosurrealist Andrei Vyshinsky's observation: "The fact that it is dark at night proves merely that I am not paying attention." ("Clinical Morphology of the Parimutuel — Impressions of Mr. Pyridine", Berlin, 1897).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Snarkologists everywhere can rejoice at the September 22nd arrival of LEOPOLD SINGH, a beamish specimen of a young man and a splendid joint effort of my brother Ranjit and his lovely wife Ann. We chortle in our joy!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fit One, Page Seven, Panel One

The Beaver's best course was, no doubt, to procure
A second-hand dagger-proof coat —
So the Baker advised it — and next, to insure
Its life in some Office of note:
This the Banker suggested, and offered for hire
(On moderate terms), or for sale,
Two excellent Policies, one Against Fire,
And one Against Damage From Hail.

The illustration of these two stanzas has completely exhausted my remaining brain-worker abilities. Purchasing insurance for a lengthy sea voyage in the company of a declared homicidal maniac is standard naval procedure but fiendishly tricky for a landlubber draughtsman such as I. The dagger-proof coat which the Beaver is wearing was the crux of the drawing and easier by far, I decided to indicate its prophylactic function by delineating its essential nature: what goes on inside the dagger-proof coat, stays inside the dagger-proof coat.

Several of my readers have recently communicated to me that they don't "get it", that my written commentaries on the Snark contain "too many references to stuff we don't know about anyway", and finally, that's it all "too surreal". Success at last!

But seriously, big words make my head hurt too, that's why I became an artist. As a child I learned about these gigantic hurtful words and the small-minded hurtful people who use 'em. Whenever someone tries to make my brain hurt-hurt with jaw-jaw, I remember what Humpty Dumpty advised Alice on the subject of big, bad, scary words —
"They've a temper, some of them - particularly verbs: they're the proudest — adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs — however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'

The egg speaks and having spoken, we obey! Yes, our new watchword shall be: impenetrably-clear.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fit One, Page Six, Panel Three (Italia Bella Redux)

The Beaver, who happened to hear the remark,
Protested, with tears in its eyes,

That not even the rapture of hunting the Snark

Could atone for that dismal surprise!

It strongly advised that the Butcher should be

Conveyed in a separate ship:

But the Bellman declared that would never agree

With the plans he had made for the trip:

Navigation was always a difficult art,

Though with only one ship and one bell:

And he feared he must really decline, for his part,

Undertaking another as well.

The provenance of this image is, I confess, is a hopelessly adulterated concoction of all the flotsam & jetsam which churns in my head by night:

• Corrupted retinal imprints of an Alma-Tadema confection of Egytian heirophants barging down the Nile.

• Scattered brain-crumb trail of Enobarbus channeling Shakespeare's fancification of Jacques Amyot's crib of Plutarch's précis of Cleopatra a-burning on the water.

• Thomas Mann's Deutsche Bahn-railway-schedule-precise vivisection of the disgraced Joseph's descent down the Nile in the Joseph Tetralogy.

• A muddled childhood memory of Thor Heyerdahl's voyages … over-saturated Technicolor imagery of Incan fellahin poling their islands of bundled reeds across Lake Titicaca, through Upper Egypt and down to Easter Island.

• Most importantly, the compulsion to depict accurately an object of stone floating in water, hence proving it as light as a duck and therefore, a witch.

To those who insist upon a certain logical decorum in the threads binding an image to a text, I say: pshaw! I just rummage through the cultural debris and emotional wheel ruts, happy as a tove in a wabe. If poetry is metaphor, and metaphor is image-making, then there's more critical analysis in one panel of this Snark than in the many pages of intellectual jiggery-pokery with which Lewis Carroll has been belabored through the ages.

On the deck of the HMS Snark, we also can see The Barrister and The Billiard-Marker playing at dice over a fragment of an aortic blood vessel which appears to have been illicitly removed from the person of the poet Dante Alighieri, whose death day is this Friday, September 14. Here's what Witold Gombrowicz, said about Dante and his Divine Comedy, another famous poem about Snarks …

"Dante was reciting his epoch, but the epoch was also reciting, and the poem is, so to speak, a double platitude, the poet simply recited what was already being recited. Something like those Sunday discussions of soccer by people gathered in bars and coffee houses. Do they really care about soccer? Not in the least. … Humanity glides along the worn ruts of articulation. An empty poem, which exists in defiance of reality and almost as if to spite it!"*

Well, doesn't that just about wrap it up for The Meaning of the Snark? I mean, simply substitute Lewis Carroll for Dante (deep inside, you know you really want to) and — voila! A poem about nothing! A drawing about nothing! And whatever it is that you read into the drawing, that's what you truly wanted all along — and thus, deserve!

Yes, yes, yes! I know that Lewis Carroll spoke no Italian outside his bathing machine. And yes, he did claim total ignorance of the meaning of his work, in English or Italian — unlike Dante (Alighieri, not "Wombat" Rossetti), who wouldn't shut up about his boojums. Frankly, I don't know what I'm doing either, it's all the rage these days and I think it's going rather well, it always does when you draw with your eyes wide shut.


*W. Gombrowicz, Diary, Volume 3, October 16, 1966, translated by Lillian Vallee, Northwestern Univ. Press, 1993. The works of Gombrowicz are ideal for name-dropping at academic and intellectual soirées, preferably from an upstairs window and attached to an anvil.
NB. The jukebox to your right has been refurbished with two curious versions of Jabberwocky, by Glenn Simonsen. One is a phonetic rendition by an Egyptian, Mr. A. Sayed, the other by Mr. Al Lawler and the Psalters. I've also included a sample of the late Roland Topor explaining the ablative absolute in High Guttural (you may remember him as Renfield in Herzog's Nosferatu, and as the animator of La Planéte Sauvage). Marie Osmond's rendition of Karawane remains, it's the high point of the Hollywood Dada phase of her career.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fit One, Page Six, Panel Two (Italia Bella!)

He came as a Butcher: but gravely declared,
When the ship had been sailing a week,

He could only kill Beavers. The Bellman looked scared,

And was almost too frightened to speak:

But at length he explained, in a tremulous tone,

There was only one Beaver on board;

And that was a tame one he had of his own,

Whose death would be deeply deplored.

Alberto Savinio had this to say about animals such as the Beaver who are always trying to draw attention to themselves:

"Totemism is a sign of the dignity that animals once enjoyed, a testimony that the earth was once a paradise … our memory of the time when animals lived with us as companions and equals contains the most encouraging idea of the future of the world, an idea that lets us glimpse, beyond the contraction of peoples into themselves, their expansion into a common brotherhood, and finally their new merging with the animals in a paradise regained."

In this panel we see the final and ultimate member of the crew, the Butcher, apparently menacing the Beaver in an umbrous manner while she is at her innocent play. Is the Butcher truly malevolent towards the Beaver as the text insinuates or is he pursuing that childish dream of Eden which she rolls before her? Universal brotherhood of sentient beings or ignominous immolation at the hands of a petrified maniac?

Clues abound: the (conveniently) protean decor of the HMS Snark, indeed, the entire mise en scène is redolent of the fashionably unsettled piazzi of Turin, a place notorious for the alpine fogs which beset and befuddle its inhabitants. A similar metaphysical ennui settles heavily over both the Beaver and the hinted-at Butcher, perhaps they are in that liminal state which Savinio alludes to, struggling to emerge from a crepuscular present of totemic mementos into a future Paradise Regained?
Is Lewis Carroll hinting at eschatalogical program of redemption here? Is the Hunting of the Snark really a music-hall species of the Divine Comedy, the Snark is Beatrice, the Baker is Dante and the crew of the HMS Snark, a multicephalic crypto-gnostic Virgil?

Or is it all just a load of rubbish, just the useless odds and ends found inside an Oxford don's stolen and pilfered portmanteau, disparate rubbish strewn about the windswept paving stones of an Turinese piazza by a disappointed thief who had been posing as a railway porter on the Bragia trunk line, the better to prey upon Englishmen doing the Grand Tour? Savinio had this to say about the dodgy sort of things that can spring out of a fellow's portmanteau on a chilly Piedmontese morning:

Romanticism: the terror of nature, its forests, its tempests, its dawns, its splendorssurrealism: the internal terror of a man, his forests, his tempests, his dawns, his splendor."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fit One, Page Six, Panel One

The last of the crew needs especial remark,
Though he looked an incredible dunce:

He had just one idea — but, that one being "Snark,"

The good Bellman engaged him at once.

It's a fair cop, guv'nor! The Bellman, assisted by the Fellowship of the Snark, brandishes his clochetic truncheon at this wallah's stoney noggin. Note further, my dear Watson, that a close reading of the text with a fine-toothed comb and well-knitted brow elicits the following facts:

Given …
The duncedness of this otherwise un-named crewmember is literally not-to-be-believed, a statement which itself is not-to-be-believed since it has not been repeated the requisite three times.
Given …
The sole internal property of this non-nonbelievable dunce is Snark.
From which …
The total epistemology of a dunce is a snark.
And therefore …
To possess a dunce is to possess a ready-made Platonic Ideal of a Snark — and in a very handy demi-godlike package too!
And therefore…
This dunce is no dunce, eh? QED!

So, our dunce is an imposter disguising himself as an Easter Island moia with an uncanny penchant for resembling the notorious French confidence-picturist and double-crosser, Eugène Delacroix! After some rough handling and quick bell-work, the so-called Eugène made the following (internal, hence epistemologically dunciad) statement:

"… one should not be too difficult. An artist should not treat himself like an enemy. Experience ought to teach us two things: first, that we should do a great deal of correcting, secondly, that we must not correct too much."

Proof positive and bob's your uncle! This man's an absolute diabolical numbskull, cunningly fitted out with all the French Polynesian deviltry necessary to hold two simultaneously opposing thoughts at once — the very conditions necessary for a Snark to flourish inside the old brain pan! Pseudo-neoplatonic skullduggery with alarming whiffs of a faux-phrenological sub-gnostic epistemological thing-um-a-jiggery — some sort of game's afoot! I could have had a job with NASA but I'm sticking it out with this snark business, I'm a brainworker!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fit the First, Page Four and Five as a Spread (The Meaning of the Snark!)

Meaning, meaning, meaning, nor any drop to think! Bad punnery must be excused, for The Meaning Of It All is a weighty burden for any one to bear, much less an impecunious artist wrestling with the eternal question of Snarkology. 42 will still have to do for now.

In the meanwhile, feast your eyes on this page spread and despair! It's all turned out rather nicely, the textures, the page flow, the surreal imagery redolent of nothing in particular, just the idle reveries of the middle-aged snarquiste confronted with a dwindling bank account, a paltry client list and an unrequited obsession with late-Victorian, proto-surrealist nonsense poetry.

As part of my on-going program of conducting imaginary conversations with imaginary readers, I offer the following remarks concerning the pen-and-inkery jiggery-pokery that goes on behind the scenes: I use No. 1950 Gillot pen nibs, I always keep two by me, a stiffer new one for detail & an older, springier one for the heavier bits. Very fine details are done with a Hunt 104. My flavour of ink is FW Steig acrylic artists' ink, it's reasonably black and of medium viscosity. I once preferred Pelikan but it made my throat hurt. I draw a very tight pencil on tissue (samples to be scanned and posted later) and then ink atop either denril or drafting vellum. I dislike lightboxing and bristol board for one very important reason: I make mistakes. Fixing them on bristol board involves pro-white or even paste-ups & rubber cement, while denril or vellum allows me to use my prized Rotex electric eraser. I just zap the offending work and re-ink, often more than once. Nibs are cleaned with window cleaner spray, the ammonia smell gives me Diazo machine flashbacks from the 1980s. I do plan to post more detailed scans & explanations of the practical nature of pen & inkery whenever my legions of readers clamor for it.

This entry seems devoid of the usual jokes and tomfoolery for the simple reason that we live in a cold, cruel and harsh world, a world in which, to give examples, I've read somewhere (will post the URL eventually) that the Disney Corporation is contemplating some new, even "better" Lewis Carroll-themed audiovisual extravaganzas. This is in addition to the long-awaited Marilyn Manson version of the same. Huzzah! This way to the laughing gas, ladies and gentlemen!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fit One, Page Five, Panel Three

He came as a Baker: but owned, when too late —
And it drove the poor Bellman half-mad —

He could only bake Bridecake — for which, I may state,

No materials were to be had.

Overheard by our foreign correspondent whilst loitering in the Immigration and Customs queue boarding the HMS Snark :

Immigration and Customs Officer: Have you any personal articles of clothing which you are taking aboard?
A Baker resembling Lewis Carroll: I don't know.
Immigration and Customs Officer: Have you any luggage or packages which you are taking aboard?
A Baker resembling Lewis Carroll: I don't know.
Immigration and Customs Officer: Can you state your own name?
A Baker resembling Lewis Carroll: I don't know.
Immigration and Customs Officer: Can you make bridecake?
A Baker resembling Lewis Carroll: I don't know.
Immigration and Customs Officer: Do you not know whether you can make bridecake or are you simply unable to procure the materials to do so?
A Baker resembling Lewis Carroll: I don't know.
Immigration and Customs Officer: (in a heated manner while vigorously waving his arms at the HMS Snark) But dash it all, sir, what does all this mean?
A Baker resembling Lewis Carroll: I don't know.

Note that the Baker consistently eschews the binary either-or of conventional logic upon which his interlocutor is depending, resorting instead to the triunary-based logic of "I don't know". We have already seen how the principle of threes supersedes all other logical statements (what I tell you three times is true) aboard the HMS Snark. Thus, the Baker disposes of the boojum of binary Marxist dialectical materialism, its frumious one-two is slain by his manxome one-two-three! Huzzah! The vorpal blade of the trinitarian Snarkist trialectic immaterialism goes snicker-snack! Oh, there's a PhD dissertation somewhere in all of this, my beamish boys and girls — oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

In the meantime our correspondent had fled the scene and was unable to record any more of what transpired. She had observed that this exasperated public official was being approached now by the pallidly neat, pitiably respectable, incurably forlorn figure of Bartleby the Scrivener — a signal for general bedlam to ensue, huzzah again!

Those who wish to hear an accurate audio recording of a general bedlam and in addition, verify the accuracy of their timepiece (at no extra expense), please refer to the third audio clip in the jukebox to the right.
Hip hip, hooray!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Fit One, Page Five, Panel Two

"His form is ungainly--his intellect small —"
(So the Bellman would often remark)

"But his courage is perfect! And that, after all,

Is the thing that one needs with a Snark."

He would joke with hyenas, returning their stare

With an impudent wag of the head:

And he once went a walk, paw-in-paw, with a bear,

"Just to keep up its spirits," he said.

A nautical though nice bit of ink-stained gallimaufry in which we see the Baker's character (still anonymous though!) in a better light, perhaps even the light which shines down from above, the light to which the Baker refers with his finger, in fact, the light for which one does not lack when heaven guides the way. If one were to see the Baker in a philosophical light, one might say that he carries about him a certain Platonic air, a mystical faith in a universal flashlight which he carries about with himself wherever he goes and which enlightens his path in even the darkest caves of the human mind. It is this mental flashlight which provides him with the aplomb necessary to navigate through the thickets of hyenas and bears in which he finds himself today. Note also that he smiles at his tormentors, a Mona Lisa sort of smile which says to his would-be tormentors: I know that you are not real, that you are merely shadows of a Higher Hyena and Bigger Bear.

The ursine fellow to the Baker's left is a Gradgrindish sort of fellow, well-schooled in the Facts of Life, ma'am, a scholastic air about him, Aristotelian even, judging by his know-it-all headware. He has no need for invisible flashlights (or torches, as LC would say), he relies upon Facts, just the Facts & their Causes, perhaps even some Numbers, and that's That! He carries a book, not for idle speculation but for assaulting lesser-minded weaklings such as the Baker with.

At their feet we see a personage in the guise of a drawing of a hyena taken from a xerox of a photograph of Heraclitus copied from a painting of a second-hand redaction of the life of Michelangelo as told to Vasari. This reflective beast (first mentioned in Fit One, Page Three, Panel Three) is lounging pool-side, debating whether 'tis best to plunge entirely into the waters or better still to merely dabble the tips of one's toes in the waters. He is consumed with doubt lest he be unable to bathe in the same waters twice. Incidentally, it appears as if he is also consumed with a petty jealousy over the excellent design of the panel in which he finds himself depicted. Not only is it a cunning gloss upon the above Stanza, but it also illustrates the wisdom of obtaining one's artistic training at a qualified and accredited institute of higher learning, a precaution which this hyenaic gentleman's rival, the infamous Raphael (not shown here) attended to by graduating cum laude from the Roman campus of the School of Athens.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fit One, Page Five, Panel One

He would answer to "Hi!" or to any loud cry,
Such as "Fry me!" or "Fritter my wig!"

To "What-you-may-call-um!" or "What-was-his-name!"

But especially "Thing-um-a-jig!"

While, for those who preferred a more forcible word,

He had different names from these:

His intimate friends called him "Candle-ends,"

And his enemies "Toasted-cheese."

The penultimate crew member, the Baker, AKA Lewis Carroll, the man with the foolish grin keeping perfectly still with the eyes shut tight in his head to see the world spinning around.

Perhaps the Baker is a boojum of sorts! The authorial nature of the Snark is obvious now, and what makes it especially tasty (as tasty as toasted-cheese-wig-fritters) is the gentle (but very thorough) dissolution of the author into his internal, safely nonsensical world. This panel illustrates the central premise of the Snark. We see the Baker in the stylized pose of the-fool-at-thought, his eyes shut for he has no need to see the Snarkian landscape — he is the Snarkian landscape, and later tonight, when the topic of supper is broached, why, he's on the menu, on the table, he's the knife and he's the waiter!

Where will it all end? What does it all mean? Is Lewis Carroll an proto-existentialist grappling with a multiply-fractured Other generated from and concealed within himself, exhausted by a pseudo-Gnostic quest played out amidst a desolate wasteland littered with the semiotic debris of a long-toppled Victorian imperium? Or is he just this guy, you know?

Credits: Mr. Carroll appears courtesy of himself (and within himself). Mr. Carroll's wardrobe courtesy of Boutique Loplop, footwear courtesy of Chez Pied, hair styled and deep-fried in hot fat by Salon René, animals styled and trained by Bwana Dali.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fit One, Page Four, Panel Two

He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
With his name painted clearly on each:
But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
They were all left behind on the beach.
The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
He had seven coats on when he came,
With three pairs of boots — but the worst of it was,
He had wholly forgotten his name.

The subject for today's sermon is the number 42, personified by the late, great Douglas Adams (pictured above at his easel). The late Mr. Adams has been dragooned by this artist into performing what is essentially a Magrittian pratfall involving bits of canvas, packing crates and some pokey things. He is ably assisted by the charming Xie, AKA Alexandra Kitchin, a young Englishwoman clad in a Chinese costume delineated by the very best India ink, the entire ensemble having once furnished the subject of a photograph by Lewis Carroll.

This artist has not felt it necessary to depict the seven coats and six boots mentioned in the above stanzas, owing to the fact that since the clothes make the man, the commutative principle of haute couture allows the man to make the clothes. Therefore, the sartorial and ontological nudity of this man (still un-named, un-manned and un-drawn) is his own lookout. No doubt, if left alone, nature will have its way and his coats and boots would multiply and eventually replenish his wardrobe (the commutative spirit of Victorian men's fashion was biblically fecund) and he will find himself the proud possessor of 42 coots and boats.

With these newfound portmanteaux in hand, we see our anonymous semi-protagonist depicted evacuating this barren strand for the ontologically, sartorially and spatially broader comfort of the next stanza, wiser by a factor of 42.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fit One, Page Four, Panel One (Happy Snark Day!)

There was one who was famed for the number of things
He forgot when he entered the ship:

His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings,

And the clothes he had bought for the trip.

We are not famed for the number of things we forget, we are infamous for remembering to introduce the penultimate crew member of the HMS Snark (still anonymous for now but stay tuned) and we have timed it perfectly for today is Snark Day, the 133rd anniversary of the day when Lewis Carroll composed the last line of the Snark. Carroll proceeded to write the remainder of the poem over the next two years, ending at the beginning on April 1st, 1876 with the publication of the Snark. While you're "digging" Marie Osmond's letter-perfect phonetic performance of Hugo Ball's Karawane in the jazzy-looking jukebox over by the soda machine to the right (plus Max Ernst's advice for troubled youth and Man Ray's home improvement tips), amaze your Snark Day date with your ink-stained grasp of all things Snarkish:

Snark Day Trivia:
The Snark's last line was composed in the birthplace of P.G. Wodehouse and the final terrestrial abode of Ford Prefect — Guildford, Surrey!
Snark Day Trivia: A possible etymology for Snark is the German verb schnarren, to jar or buzz, itself cognate with the Low German snarren, to snarl. A friend of Lewis Carroll's, Beatrice Hatch, wrote in 1898 that the author had told her that Snark was a portmanteau of snail and shark. Pshaw!
Snark Day Trivia: Dante Gabriel Rossetti was convinced in his later, even less rational years, that Carroll intended the Snark to symbolize himself. Rossetti also identified himself with wombats to an unhealthy degree and eventually disinterred his wife to retrieve some poems which he had entrusted to her.
Snark Day Trivia: Today is also the feast day of Saint Arnulf of Metz, patron saint of beer brewers. So, if you don't object, my dear, we'll try a glass of bitter beer — I think it looks inviting!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fit the First, Page Two and Three as a Spread (The Meaning of the Snark)

Pages 2 and 3 in their final layout, type included. No hand lettering, for now I'm using ITC Garamond Condensed by the great Tony Stans, a classic ITC face (which also dates the artist for those who keep track of such things). I must also mention that the display fonts used on the opening Fit the First Page are Selfish and Downcome, designed by a very talented Brazilian, Eduardo Recife. His work is rather good and can be found here. Truthfully, the ITC font is a minute shade too light, too phototype. If I could find a compressed bodycopy, as tight and legible as ITC GC and a darker color to balance my linework, with the same Victorian, slightly faux-letterpress aroma of Recife's work, I will change the Garamond.

The initial conceit of the Snark is properly launched. The theatrical, self-contained staginess of the Snark, its insistent play-acting, makes a stageboard and footlights opening motif inescapable. Carroll loved messing about with boats and amateur theatricals both, I have chosen the most economical means to effect both modes of transportation. The play's the thing, damn the torpedoes!

And now, it's time to ask: what does it all mean? What's with this Snark, was Lewis Carroll embarking on some psycho-Freudian, hypo-ontological, extra-existential crypto-quixotic crusade? If a college freshman searching for inspiration for a theme paper on the Hunting of the Snark were to consult these pages, what would I tell him? Should I confide to him or her that the Snark's meaning can be approximated best by regenerating all 5,065 words of the original text into a matrix roughly congruent in morphology, syntax and grammar to the original, the generation process beginning on or about July 18, 1874? And will the resulting text file provide an optimized WYSIWYG explanation of the meaning of the Snark, assuming of course that one has not yet taken religious orders but that one does have minimal pedagogical experience in college-level mathematics (also assuming that one "reads" the resultant codex with a false recursive memory of having composed it oneself whilst seeing it for the first time)? Must I also hint that the physical location of this generation process is unimportant, that anywhere in the rain while wearing scratchy woolens and mudcaked wellingtons will do? Questions, questions, nary a hint of an answer! Take heart, all ye who yearn for answers , such questions — like laughter — are probably doomed to disappear.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Fit the First, Page Three, Panel Three

There was also a Beaver, that paced on the deck,
Or would sit making lace in the bow:

And had often (the Bellman said) saved them from wreck,

Though none of the sailors knew how.

All aboard! At one and the same time, the Bellman delivers himself from an impending watery grave, snatches a coveted berth aboard the H.M.S. Snark, tingles his bell to signal our departure and introduces the Beaver, who is busily engaged upon her salubrious lace-making.

I am aware that readers assume the Beaver to be a He. Carroll's text is ambiguous on the point, only using the masculine (possessive) pronoun in the plural to refer to the Beaver and another (usually the Butcher). In his Annotated Snark, Martin Gardner concurs on this important grammatical point, which is reinforced in my mind by its aesthetic rightness.

Inasmuch as the Snark is an imaginary animal and thus its clochetic pursuer triply so, inasmuch as the creator of these drawings is rumored to be imaginary by the good people of the The Comics Journal message boards, and inasmuch as Castor canadensis, AKA the Beaver, is riparian, sedentary and unimaginably disinterested in travel and the needletrade, be it resolved: No man — for such is the Bellman's essence — can, strictly speaking, step into the same river twice, especially when there is no river (for any body of water delineated by an artist, however vaguely — touché! — unreal himself, is rendered null and void). Any riparian fauna must, ipso facto hey-nonny-nonny and a-hey-diddle-diddle, be contrary to any popular expectations held of them.

QED, the Beaver's a She and not a He and any other arguments I cordially defer as yet, for nothing will come of nothing. Speak again of this matter and I will invoke my Aristotelian rights: nature abhors a void, especially a kingly third portion (AKA the artists' Law of Thirds). Now stop learing at this nice drawing and get busy googling Heraclitus and Shakespeare, the bookends of occidental thinkery.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Fit the First, Page Three, Panel Two

A Billiard-marker, whose skill was immense,
Might perhaps have won more than his share —

But a Banker, engaged at enormous expense,

Had the whole of their cash in his care.

Immediately to the right of the Bellman is the Broker, AKA Karl Marx. To the latter's right is the Billiard-Marker, AKA Raymond Roussel. If — and the thing is wildly possible — the charge of drawing nonsense were ever brought against the illustrator of this brief but instructive poem, it would be based, I feel convinced, on this panel. Messers Marx and Roussel were both notable figments of each other's imagination, each believing the other an opiate of the masses or a mass of opiates.

In a related matter, it's come to my attention, thanks to the current Max Ernst thread on the message board at The Comics Journal, that there is some genuine doubt as to my existence. The treason of reality, so scandalous, so flattering! Or even better, to paraphrase Magritte (who knew a thing or two about snarks and boojums) —

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fit the First, Page Three, Panel One

The crew was complete: it included a Boots —
A maker of Bonnets and Hoods —
A Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes —
And a Broker, to value their goods.

From right to left (semitic justification has been applied for at the appropriate government agencies):
The Boots, AKA Charles Darwin
The Bonnet, AKA Friedrich Nietzsche
The Barrister, AKA Martin Heidegger
The Broker, AKA Eric Satie
The Bellman, AKA The White Knight AKA Sir John Tenniel

The observant reader (I use the singular because so far that is the sum total of my reader) may detect a pattern here. Stella Snead's absence has been noted by the sole reader, to whom I had to soulfully admit that Snead did not meet my rigorous criteria for inclusion into the hunting party of the Snark (all members must have been alive during Carroll's lifetime). The sole reader is not only acutely observant, remarkably well-read and well-seeing, but even better, quite good looking.

If memory serves, Satie enjoyed creating miniscule models of houses shaped out of lead, which he kept in a cabinet in his home. He would periodically advertise these houses in the local newspaper — making no mention of their actual size — and would take great delight in ushering the prospective home-purchaser into his parlor, and there solemnly presenting him with the unexpected lilliputian house. One can imagine Nietzsche's reaction to this — the Gallic humor! the German silence!

Satie's aptly-named piano piece, Vexations, is an ideal soundtrack for la vie snarque, and so here are several recent performances of it, really worth a listen.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fit the First, Page Two, Panel Two

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true."

Self-explanatory, I should think. The Quebecois, tripartite motif is reinforced by the element of stealthy moisture. Both the fleur-de-lys and water (and what is the color of this water? It is the color of water) are attributes of monarchy, the former being an attribute of the ancien regime and the latter (l'eau) being referred to by the Sun King in his pronouncement: apres moi, le deluge. The Bellman is given to royal diktats of this sort which he clearly legitimizes with a Christian, trinitarian strategy. The hunting of snarks is not peasant's sport, it is the sport of kings. Pshaw to the separation of church and state that is so ballyhooed by our American cousins. What ho! saddle up, the last man afield is a prole!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Fit the First, Page Two, Panel One

"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.

A theatrical start, and one that I hope Lewis Carroll would have appreciated. The unreality of the stage (compounded by, in this instance, the unreality of all things internet) is the best starting point for a Snark hunt. The mentally astute reader will note that the Boots is Charles Darwin (definitively responsible for the unreality of god) and that the Bellman is the White Knight from Through the Looking Glass. The more astute reader will know that the White Knight was a self-portrait (rather idealized and verging on the unreal) of the cyclopic Sir John Tenniel, illustrator of Through the Looking Glass. The most astute reader will remember that the Boot's pose is that of St. Anthony in Grunewald's Temptation of St. Anthony, a compelling depiction of the unreal visions created by the unreal nemesis of an unreal deity upon a real believer. What I tell you three times, eh?

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Fit the First, Page One

We artists have an obligation to provide employment to our equally impecunious academic brethren and I am determined to create my Hunting of the Snark in the spirit of fraternal thing-um-a-bob with the above-mentioned whats-is. Every page, every panel, every jot and tittle of my Snark will provide much-needed gainful employment for all graduate students and other itinerant savants (including but not limited to shut-ins, the congenitally idle, involuntary wards of the state, newspaper arts-page gad-abouts, etc).
Huzzah for the sacred groves of academe! The satyriac professors shepherding their flock of semiotic yet shapely grad students armed with finely-tuned stipends! You can rely upon my Snark for much gainful head scratching and a bounty of fruitful hair-splitting. Therefore, gentlemen! ladies! I present to you the first page of Fit the First. Your clue: ontology recapitulates phylogeny! Go forth and discuss amongst yourselves: the Snark is eye and we are treading in deep waters, the salty whiff of existentialism is in the seaside air. Smells like late-Victorian bathing-machine teen spirit to me.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Preface … Fiat Snark!

I've spent the last year working on a sequential version of Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark and I expect to spend at least another year on it. Hopefully, a publisher will be found for it (they all love the Snark but is Ms Carroll truly relevant to today's YAs? Why doesn't she answer her phone? Who's her agent anyway?)

In the meantime, maybe it's best to let my Snark venture out on its own with little baby steps, enough to whet the appetite of any lurking boojums. Plus, it's an exhibitionist and loves to be talked about.
I still have no cover idea but I've finished the author's preface. I decided to focus on Carroll's portmanteaux. His revolutionary concept of the role that luggage can play in verbal communication must have baffled train porters and pedants alike.

Here is Figure 1:

Fig. 1 – A visual explication of the portmanteau concept. Shown here is Mr. Lewis Carroll, a poet and the author of this preface and a portmanteau of Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, mathematics don at Christ Church College, Oxford.

And for the truly perplexed, Figure 2:

Fig. 2 – A visual explication of the portmanteau concept. Shown here is Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a mathematics don at Christ Church College, Oxford and a portmanteau of Mr. Lewis Carroll, a poet and the author of this preface.

Hooray for the Victorian concept of what's suitable for children! More to come ...